It was a pleasure to have students back on campus for the Experience UNSW Day this week after a year of covid restrictions! The day saw 30 year 12 students disassemble discarded hard drives, to find the plethora of materials in e-waste and with it the opportunities and challenges in forging a circular economy.
Once disassembled the students made their way through a range of materials from neodymium magnets to gold tipped titanium readers to polyamide electronics strips. Our SMaRT centre superstars Anirban Ghose, Wei Wang, Lucas Way and Salim Al Khadhoori then led the students through the barriers to recycling this precious waste from hard to separate coatings, to high temperature specialised alloying components. From here, the team discussed the vast opportunities available from the circular economy from manufacturing satellites at a fraction of the cost to making steel cleanly using waste streams of carbon.
Rounding out the day, students came together in their teams for a round robin, taking turns to name the materials in the varied e-waste components. After a tough competition, the winners and place getters came away with some School of Materials Science & Engineering merchandise including vacuum sealed waterbottles, battery banks and stationary.